Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry!

"I saw Santa!"
--Whiskers, December 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

minimal progress

I have made more progress on this one. Of course, it's a busy time of year. Maybe I will get it done today.

I have already used up an hour wrapping gifts. I told Joseph that his gift was comming FedEx, but wasn't here yet.

"I hope it gets here in time." I lied. It's here. He's not seaching for it.

I told him his other gift was difficult to hide because of it's large size. Also a lie, but he is secretly looking for something large.

I believe Christmas is about more than lies. I'm looking for evidence to support that hypothesis.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I have finished two pads for AP/Jump saddles, including the purple mouse pad you saaw earlier. These are the first I have finished in over a year. It's been a long year. Remember, you can click on the picture for the McGoo View.

Janow got to go outside again, finally! When it gets muddy, he gets locked in his stall. If he went out in the mud, he would make footprints in the clay. They would fill up with water that would otherwise run off. The water has time to soak in, the footprints get deeper. Soon, they are over 12 inches of sucky clay mud. Enough to suck the horseshoes right off!

Sadly, Janow is not sound without shoes in front. Phil can put new shoes on right away, but eventually, too many nail holes would weaken the foot and new shoes would not be possible.

Janow does NOT like to be stuck inside! He has a 24x48 foot paddock with a 12x12 stall in one corner. When he is stuck inside, he cannot visit over the fence with Emmitt or Cherokee. It's like solitary confinement. There is still a lot going on in The Lane, but that's not the same.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Bunday

see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Baby buns sure are cute! Resist the urge to add more, spay and neuter your pet rabbits. It makes them better and happier pets and makes more forever homes available to rescue and shelter rabbits who wait.

Remember, all those rabbits without permanent homes were once very cute baby rabbits. The familiarity and grace of a long term relationship with a bun far outweighs the cuteness of a baby.

Same goes for dogs and cats.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here is another snapshit. (ooh, typo, but appropriate)

Silver is a graceful, sensitive, smart and affectionate rabbit. Also a bit bossy. She fascinates me. She must be special and unique.

So, I take her picture. It is the picture of an ordinary bun. Again, I am disappointed.

I shouldn't be. She is all those qualities to me and that is what counts.
After having her here for two years, I enjoy her more and more.

Two years ago, she could not get enough pets, but she did not want to be picked up. Now, she knows that there will be a cuddle in the evening. She waits for me. When I approach, she goes to the furthest, hardest to reach place. That is the place from which I have always picked her up. She went there at first to avoid being picked up. Now she goes there because that is the place to be picked up. If I am late, she thumps the floor in disgust first, then she goes to the spot. She still cannot get enough pets. To say that she has a brain the size of a walnut would be an exaggeration. It is actually smaller than that. I love her anyway.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday? Again?

It's Monday again. I am almost ready for the holiday. It's a lot of work. I have also made a couple treks to my Dr. to have my knee taken care of. I have developed tendonitis. Ew.

Packages of gifts have gone out to PA, NV, NH, and NC.

I took my saddle in to have new billets put on. Then I had to go pick it up. This took time. Much less time than an injury due to the saddle falling off. Billets are vital to safety.

One of the big time suckers in my day is the computer, so I have tried to limit that. As you can tell, I have been successful.

I promised Writing and Riding that I would photograph what I thought was the ultimate fall thing. I did, and I got the photos into the computer. And then I got stuck.

There is one buckeye tree at Indian Hill Ranch where Janow is boarded. I love to see it in the fall, when the leaves are gone and just the buckeyes are hanging on it. The buckeye trees are the first to lose their leaves in the fall. Some of the trees around here still have yellow leaves that haven't fallen yet.

Here is a picture of the buckeye tree at Indian Hill. A close up of one of the buckeyes where you can see how the husk splits open so the buckeye can fall out. Often the empty husks remain on the tree until the wind blows them off. I picked one up so you can see the size of them. The color is a very rich brown and they are very smooth.

Monday is usually Bunday, so there is a bun photo too. This shows what Dave found when he pulled the sofa away from the wall to clean. Shouldn't have done that. Now that all her glorious yellow pages and newspapers are gone, Silver is working on the sofa itself.

Poor Silver became depressed and lonely. I have been spending time with her even more and she seems to be happier. Rabbits live in social groups and many people keep them in bonded pairs. Silver is an only bun. Dave would never go for a second bun, especially after the sofa incident. I could go ahead and get another bun because I am a grownup and I can do what I want, but I am also part of a family that shows respect for each other and in this I will respect Dave's need for tidiness. A lot of grownups are divorced and living alone except for buns.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mouse Pad

Here are pictures of the mouse pad I am working on. It's machine applique collage on hand dyed denim. The quilting is done and it needs to have the sides joined and the binding sewn on. It is for AP/Jump saddles. I have several in this stage of completion.

Remember, you can click on the picture to magnify it into the McGoo view.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Possum Lodge

Here are some pictures Dave took out at the Possum Lodge to show his Mom. The fungus is bigger than my foot! He moved the picnic table to a higher spot, then put all new wood on it. The water buckets were close to the house and trickled all the time. The noise bothered me so he moved them farther away. He put a rail on the deck, and he is building benches in strategic locations. What he is not doing is fixing the light in the kitchen at home! Pretty soon, what I am not going to be doing is cooking dinner in the dark.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Bunday

But, harsh! what disapproval through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and Juliet is a bun

disapproving rabbit

Photo Credit:

Also on Monday Bunday, Silver offers a bit of financial planning advice on her blog Buns-of-Silver.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Here are pictures of me, driving! After nearly ten years on the pain/surgery/recovery carousel, it feels great to be moving off the circle!
That's Mt. Diablo in the back. The area around Roger's place is flat! Not like Milpitas and Indian Hills Ranch. It takes me about an hour and 15-30 minutes to get here.
You can see Spunky likes to bend to the left, even on the right rein. The tricky part is getting the right bend without turning right, just like riding.

I like the last picture that shows him suspended(nearly). It looks like he is really moving. Believe me, this pony really moves out. He is ALWAYS willing to go faster! Sort of like Janow. Well, exactly like Janow..

The morning these pictures were taken, my head was not really in the right place. The previous evening, Joseph took a ride on the bipolar pony and Dave & I just grabbed a hank of tail and hung on. This time he stayed in the ring, avoiding dragging us over rocks and through thistles, and managed to dodge most of the manure. He's getting control and I am proud of him.

I had these pictures arranged so the the back of us was the last photo. That was just tooo much, so I changed it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Money Saving Idea

I did this to Dave. If you look closely, you can see that the toilet paper is only a printed photograph of toilet paper. He was confused. Joseph and I were laughing and he said "I don't see how this is funny."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Bunday

funny rabbit pictures & lolcats - Fixted yuor speekurz.. Is all good nao
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Last week you saw Scamper of Santa Clara Humane Society. This week I tell you that a rabbit is not an impulse pet, not a great children's gift, but the most glorious companion for the right person. You have to decide if you are that person. This picture illustrates the perils of being that person. (BTW if you look closely at the pic, the wires look photoshopped. The rabbit was not endangered. But, this could really happen if the wires were left hanging)

Today on Silver's blog, Buns-of-Silver, she tells about an unexpected pitfall of being a house rabbit. She had one morning where she would not have anything to do with me, hiding and making the danger sound by thumping her hind feet hard on the floor. My friend Diana of The Qi Papers asked me
"What were you wearing?"
"Jaguar pajamas."
"She thought you were a predator."

The two links below will help you find more rabbit information, including some stories about real life rabbits. You can also get connected with the Rabbit Rescue Orgs in your area. They hold regular adoption fairs where you can see the buns and talk to the bun people. There is one that calls itself the Bunderground Railroad. Rabbit people love bun puns!

House Rabbit Society

Interactive Bun

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saddle Pads....almost

Here are some of the in-progress saddle pads. These are the ones I batiked this summer. I have been sewing cotton foundations for the denim pads. This takes a long time and is a very boring task, but it makes these pads great. Even without the batik design, these would be nice pads. I was nearly done with this batch when I ran out of bobbin thread and did not have any others wound. That's enough for me today!

I have three pads currently on ebay. They and others can be seen on the Doublecatbatik website.

If you want a sample piece to see how nice these pads are, let me know! I can get one to you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For the record, there was crying at the shelter. I was holding on when a cat volunteer tried to comfort me, then I lost it. There was sobbing.

Dana has asked me, through Facebook, to tell more about my driving. I thought is would be sedate and a bit boring, but it’s been very exciting!

I decided to do this driving thing several months before I actually did anything. I gave myself lots of time to learn and choose a course of action. Then I attended some driving events and chose an instructor and started lessons.

Now I have had four lessons. I’m still a beginner. Roger Cleverly is a fun and knowledgeable instructor and I am happy with that choice. He has a Welsh pony, Spunky, that he uses as a school horse. I have learned how to harness and put to, although the wraps and hold-backs are complicated and I still get confused. I have driven in the ring, and cross-country.

In our cross-country drive, Roger sat beside me in the cart. Spunky was trotting and the ground was getting rougher and rougher as we went. There had been recent rain. Horseback riders leaving deep footprints, along with farm equipment, had left ruts in the mud which was now drying and becoming hard. We were bouncing along at a good pace; I was beginning to catch air under my seat…. I was wondering when Roger would tell me to slow down. Finally, when I couldn’t take it any more, I told Spunky to walk. Good choice, says Roger. You’re letting the terrain tell you about the pace. Gaah!

Last time, Roger set cones in the ring and I drove solo in patterns around the cones and through the “gates.” It reminded me of jumping courses ages ago at L.O.V.E. Farm in Los Osos.

Spunky is getting easier to rate and lighter in the reins. I was worried a first that if Spunky was difficult to rate and slow down, Janow, with much larger size, would be impossible. I’m not worried anymore. Now that I have some driving under my belt (wow 4 whole lessons) he is much lighter. According to Roger, Spunky is getting to know me, so it works two ways.

Here are some pictures of Roger driving at a playday. I don’t have any pictures of me yet.

There is also a picture of the cart I bought, and I will try to get a picture of the harness I have ordered. It hasn’t come yet, so it has to be a stolen picture from the Carriage driving Essentials web site. The picture on the horse shows the empathy colar, which I did not get. There is a picture of the standard colar that I got. The picture with the horse also shows marathon shafts, which I don't have either. The shafts on my cart are wood and they are straight.

When the harness comes, I will get Janow super used to wearing it. When we are both ready, I will take him to Roger’s in Knightsen to actually put him to the cart. That is an hour and fifteen minutes by car, sans horse trailer. With Janow in the trailer, it will take longer. He will probably stay there for a while and I want to get him as ready as possible so he is there a shorter time and I have to drive back and forth less.

So there you go, Dana.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Bunday

Janow colicked yesterday. It resolved before I called the vet, but I was with him for two hours and I was very scared. I got home and Silver, with a similar gut, was fine. Monday Bunday celebrates the continued health of the resident bun.

This is animal No.71240.

Her name is Scamper.

She is one of many rabbits at the Milpitas Animal Shelter. The rabbits are all young. With a life expectancy of ten years, I am amazed at the young rabbits whose owners could not follow through on the promise to care for the bun.

Rabbits are not rodents and they don't act like them. They require as much personal interaction as a dog or cat. They return the affection, but not as readily as a dog. You have to do a to more to earn it. Compared to cats......well, cats are weird. I have two.

My day, if goes as scheduled, includes a visit to the buns at the shelter, and a donation. I promise not to cry while I'm there. Well, no sobbing anyway.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Steady Now

We are continuing our walks in Ed Levin Park. They are getting much easier. Often, I can check Janow with my voice. Sometimes, when he forgets where he is supposed to be, the correction is only a reminder of the correction, a hint. He says "oh, yeah. Sorry."

Wednesday, a remarkable thing happened. We were walking on the ranch. I decided to go down to the bottom. It's very steep, haven't been down there in ages. My balance and flexibility are not so good. My foot has been asleep for 17 years, it's gonna stay that way. I am not sure-footed. The trail got steeper and steeper, I went slower and slower. Finally, I reached out and took a huge chunk of mane for support as I inched my way down. Janow started licking and chewing, a horse gesture that indicates comfort.

Was he relieved that I was safer with his support? Was he comforting me, telling me it was going to be OK, don't worry?

It could be that I am turning into a mush ball, but I don't think so.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday Bunday

Grey Hares greeting card. I love the expressions on the faces of the buns.
You can buy this card from the artist(who is not me) at

Sunday, November 01, 2009


In "The Emotional Lives of Animals," I read that there is little evidence of fear for others except in mothers for their offspring. Then it gives many examples, bears and mountain goats. Horses are mentioned infrequently in this book. The authors seem to prefer wild animals.

Janow shows fear for me and has overcome that fear to take care of me. When he defended me from the tack box door, and when he defended me with toddler Joseph when the loose horse was galloping toward us.

In an earlier blog, I told the story of hand walking Janow twice a day when he had a tendon injury. I had toddler Joseph in a backpack. Another boarder, dog off leash in defiance of rules, called her dog so I would not see her breaking the rule. The dog ran off. She let go of her horse to chase the dog and the horse left his grass patch to start a squealing fight with another horse over the fence. She heard the squealing and turned to her horse, yelling and running to get it. Of course, the horse bolted. It was heading our way and I had to choose, let go and let Janow run away and re-injure the tendon, hang on and get pulled over, injuring Joseph. Before I could decide, Janow moved to place his body between the running horse, and me with Joseph turning his butt and hunkering down to kick out at it. The horse saw his hazard at the last instant and veered away.

A later time, squirrels had undermined the foundation to my plastic tack locker. The locker had shifted, the doors came loose and stuff was everywhere. I removed all the stuff and planned to tell the office when I rode past, then I tacked up. Before I got on, Jay rode by and I pointed to the locker. “Oh, those are easy, the doors just snap back in!” He dismounted and came over to snap it. When he wiggled it, the whole plastic door came loose and started falling toward me as I held Janow’s reins. Jay and I both expected Janow to bolt. Instead, he fired both hind legs and sent the whole door flying! Jay said “So much for that!” The door wasn’t really dangerous and people know that, but to a horse, it was a split second decision to protect me.

Everyone (well, many) has read or heard about Lipizzans being bred for dressage and performances and royal pageants. When the breeding program was begun over 400 years ago, the view was different. The Lipizzan was the latest and greatest battlefield technology. The goal was to gain advantage over then enemy during a military engagement. They were used for training and mounts for officers. Remember, officers had more than just military value, they were of noble birth, with advantages and alliances gained through their marriages, and they were the celebrities of their day. The Lipizzan was bred to carry them into battle and keep them safe.

There have been many times when I have Janow's emotions as if they were my own. In the beginning I mistook them for my own. I know better now, and I may write about that later. What I remember now is a time when I was riding around the ranch and we were going along Calaveras, a paved road that is a favorite of bicyclists. We were on the inside of the ranch fence, a nice dirt bridle path. A cyclist had stopped to rest under the trees, in the speckled shade. Janow knew she was there by the small movements of sipping a water bottle, but the wind was wrong and he didn’t know what it was. I said “Hi” and she waved back. Janow froze. I said “Say something so he knows you’re a person.” She did, and Janow relaxed right away. We walked up to her without a problem. She remarked how beautiful he was and that she was nothing to be afraid of. I explained to her that only part of what Janow did was based on simple fear, that he was also making sure that I was safe. It was a revelation for her. I knew Janow was concerned for me as well as himself. I knew it with the listening-heart that can feel what he feels.

He feels guilt as well as fear for me. In one of the few instances when I have come off and he was not intending it, we were (again) riding around the ranch when something unnerved him unexpectedly. I don’t know what, a sound, a smell, something visible. He spun so suddenly that I was just hanging in the air, fourteen hands and two inches off the ground. Of course, that didn’t last long. Janow did not run away but stood there looking at me with aprehension. I got back on immediately, to show not only that I was OK (really?) but that my trust was not broken. He felt terrible. He walked so carefully. I rode around a little bit more and finished up. The next day, he did not want to go past the same spot. I didn’t push it. I picked a different route for as long as he needed, which was only a few days. When we did go past again, the place he concentrated on was the place where I landed, not the place where whatever-it-was had been. After that, he was fine.